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Writing Python AddIns for Family HiStory Maps using ArcGIS for Desktop

Using ArcPy and Python AddIns to enrich your story

Family HiStory Maps are a type of Story Map that uses GIS to follow the paths taken by your ancestors.

Prior to taking this 62 minute course it is recommended that you view the:

You will also need to have completed the No Coding Family HiStory Maps using ArcGIS for Desktop which creates the map and data that are used as the starting point for this course.

To assist those nervous about whether they have the necessary Python and ArcPy skills, there are *.py files attached to many of the lessons that provide code to copy/paste. The last lesson also has the final Python script and config.xml file attached. A student who has completed a day of introductory Python and ArcPy training (e.g. ArcGIS Quick Start for ArcPy/Python) should have the necessary skills but the course is also suitable for anyone keen to learn ArcPy/Python while working on their Family History.

The course shows you many techniques for writing a Python AddIn toolbar using ArcPy that makes presentation of Family HiStory Maps using ArcGIS for Desktop much more flexible than the "no coding method". Techniques include:

  • Downloading and using the Python AddIn Wizard to make a one button toolbar
  • Writing the ArcPy code to make that button zoom to the extent of the first slide
  • Copying and updating the config.xml and Python script to support eight slide buttons
  • Enabling slides to switch between online only basemaps (e.g. National Geographic and OpenStreetMap), and other basemaps like Natural Earth that can remain available when working offline
  • Placing headings on slides to display their date (range), title and number
  • Controlling which features are displayed from each layer in each slide, and choosing whether they are labelled independently
  • Using the Python AddIn toolbar and HTML Popup tool to drive the presentation of a Family HiStory Map

The course is recorded using ArcGIS 10.3.1 for Desktop but can be undertaken using version 10.1 or later. Only a Basic level license is needed to view or present a Family HiStory Map like we do in this course, but to capture/edit attachments (e.g. photos linked to locations), which was done in the No Coding course, requires a Standard or Advanced level license . The ArcGIS for Home Use Program provides a very cost effective route to obtaining an Advanced level license of ArcGIS for Desktop for non-commercial purposes.

A small amount of editing is done on an XML file (config.xml) and for this we use Notepad++.


Your Instructor


Graeme Browning
Graeme Browning

Graeme provides training, consulting and support in:

  • ArcGIS for Desktop;
  • ArcGIS Pro;
  • ArcPy/Python and ModelBuilder/Geoprocessing generally;
  • ArcGIS Online and Story Maps;
  • Family HiStory Mapping; and
  • Google Earth .

He has been using Esri software for over 25 years (18 of those with Esri International Distributors in the United Kingdom and Australia), and Google Earth for more than 5 years, and works with the latest versions of the ArcGIS platform and Google Earth.


Frequently Asked Questions


When does the course start and finish?
The course starts now and never ends! It is a completely self-paced online course - you decide when you start and when you finish.
How long do I have access to the course?
How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 30 days and we will give you a full refund.

This course is not open for enrolment.